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We’re detectives when it comes to whether our granola contains gluten, but historically we’ve been ignorant to what products we lather ourselves with. The Clean Beauty movement of yesteryear saw buzzwords like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ appear across skincare advertisements, as we collectively sulked over to our bathroom cabinet and began to question what actually is in that 10-years-younger-in-10-days night cream we’ve been using every night? 

While a lot of brands emerged from this trend victoriously authentic, it wasn’t without the clean-washing by major brands who wanted a piece of the organic-pie. A disillusionment arose of what truly was classified as ‘organic’, and with little regulation, consumers began to question what it was they were putting on their skin. 

The, Ahem, Pandemic.

No conversation is immune to the mention of COVID-19. About every industry has had their own tale of challenges and triumph in their individual confrontations with this global pandemic. But most notably, was the beauty sector’s seismic shift from makeup to skincare.

Confined to our homes, staying in birthed a never-before-seen wellness epidemic — routines became rituals, and consumers began looking to preserve healthy skin rather than spend time and money on covering it up. This long-term, proactive approach to beauty is a unique opportunity for brands to create long-lasting engagement with their consumers by solidifying brand values and evolving beyond their historic one-dimensional category into a space of purpose and intention. 

In 2020, consumers were less inclined to part with their cash due to such economic uncertainty. Instead, they indulged in the appropriately-named “Lipstick Effect” phenomenon — that is, spending their dollars on smaller luxuries, such as beauty. Sadly, this wasn’t the case for makeup, as working from home and our lack of social engagements became the new norm. L’Oreal reported 14% decline in global beauty sales in the first half of the year, with professional beauty, makeup and fragrance sales all experiencing a 25% decline (source). It’s not all bad news, as emerging technology is allowing the personalisation of products and services, such as virtual try-on sessions where artification intelligence (AI) can select the perfect foundation match. With a generation craving deeper connections, personalisation tools can foster a relationship of integrity and accountability between brand and consumer that is far and few from our world of social distancing.

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